I am an MA student in the Cultural Studies Graduate Program at Queen’s University. I am interested in exploring the intersection between religious studies, history, material culture theory, affect theory and apposite methodologies.
My Master’s thesis seeks to analyze how Chinese Buddhism is practiced and understood today and the developments that it has undergone and continues to go through. To do this I am tracing incense as a symbol within Buddhist temples in Shanghai. Incense provides an entry point into contemporary Chinese Buddhist practice and illuminates the historical and socio-political networks in which incense and Buddhism play a part in. Dissecting the many nuanced relationships that incense and Buddhism play a part in allow me to develop an understanding of how and why Buddhism in China has developed in the ways that it has and how it might continue to develop.